Marikana Tragedy: A blight in the post Apartheid South Africa’s image.

16 August 2017

Today marks a day that shall remain etched in the minds of many South Africans and those who care about this Country, not because of any sign of progress to advance our democracy or workers’ rights but because of its tragic nature. This is a day that some in our Nation would like to forget because it exposes fault-lines in our democratic Project.

The quest for dignity for many of the working people in our Country in particular mine workers largely remains as it was under Apartheid despite the various waves of commodity boom and myriads of Policy announcements. The nature of our industrial relations remains largely confrontational rather than cooperative as a result of the absence of shared vision about our Country and the direction it must take. Sadly, in the case of the Marikana tragedy the State is seen as an honest broker but a protagonist against the working people.

As a result of this tragedy, South Africa will never be the same and Marikana tragedy shall remain a blight in the image of the Post-Apartheid South Africa. Much has been written about this incident and what it means to South Africa. This tragedy is now compounded by the fact that five years later no one is held liable for the loss of any of the forty-four lives immediately prior and during the 16th August 2017, that no loss of income compensation has been forthcoming to the families of the deceased or any of their dependants despite millions of Rand spent in an attempt to establish the facts. The net-results of the process thus far are the acts shrouded in avoidance of responsibility and political point scoring.

The lives lost in the tragedy shall never be returned, but concluding this matter in a dignified manner will go some way to ease the pain to the victims and dependents of the deceased. This must surely include the State taking responsibility for the actions of the Police, in particular in relation to the events of the 16th August 2012 and begin in earnest with a concerted effort to provide the necessary compensation. Such compensation must include the victims of those who died immediately prior the 16th August 2012. Lonmin must, in addition to the Compensation by the State, implement a meaningful and positively life changing Social and Labour Plan.

South Africa has in the past experienced a number of State sponsored mass killings, be it Sharpeville, Soweto, Uitenhage, Boipatong, Bhisho and many others, all with an astonishing embrace of impunity, where no one would be held liable. This today is a challenge to our Law enforcement agents, which thus far has demonstrated either unwillingness or inability to execute their Constitutional responsibility. The demand for justice though must continue to be made and that we expect of our Law enforcement agents to behave differently from those whose principal task was to enforce the acts of an illegitimate Government.

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation wishes to urge Government to act decisively in ensuring the speedy resolution of this matter.

We sincerely hope that we shall not have another commemoration of the Marikana massacre without people being held to account and the families of the deceased being compensated lest our government be discredited beyond redemption in the eyes of ordinary citizens. A further delay in the resolution of this matter is not an option.

This statement has been prepared on behalf of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.

Any further inquiries and questions of clarification about this statement can be directed to:

TMF Head Of Communications: Mr Thami Ntenteni
Cell Number: 083 256 3586
Office Landline: 011 486 1560
Email Address: ntentenithami@gmail.com

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